Why direct marketing

Ioannis Stavrakantonakis, Zaenal Akbar, Anna Fensel, Dieter Fensel, Jose Garcia, Birgit Juen, Nelia Lasierra, Ioan Toma, Serge Tymnaiuk
Publication Date: 
June, 2014

The internet is a powerful communication infrastructure enabling easy and smooth interaction beyond physical boundaries. Originally designed to interlink computers, it has since released its full potential in connecting people from all over the world. Various application layers such as the web, social media, semantic web, and mobile technologies provide new means for eCommerce. Using this technology appropriately is becoming an increasingly imperative challenge for each sector. This technology will significantly alter the relationship between customers and service providers and therefore may change established business models drastically. Our study focuses on the take-up of internet technology in the touristic sector, with a regional bias towards the Austrian and Tyrolean touristic sector. Generally, these sectors have already perceived significant modifications in the customer/service provider relationship. On the one hand, established intermediaries have disappeared or lost their importance. More and more, customers interact and book directly through the internet, bypassing other intermediaries (travelling offices etc.). On the other hand, new intermediaries have established themselves to mediate the customer-provider relationship. Therefore, the original expectation that the internet will enable a direct peer-to-peer relationship between service consumers and providers has only partially fulfilled its expectations. Still, touristic service providers depend on other agents to help them to connect to their potential customers. One potential explanation for this could be that the touristic service providers may lack the competence to use these new technologies (and their steadily changing application layers) properly. Therefore, we empirically compare the usage of internet technology by hotels, hotel chains, touristic associations, booking and review channels. Our findings confirm our hypothesis. The use of internet technology is quite cumbersome via touristic service providers and excellently handled by intermediaries such as booking channels. Obviously, if one fails to use a technology appropriately, one may depend on other parties that have achieved such a competency. And one needs to be prepared to share a significant piece of the cake with them.